So I’m drifting around Half Price Books last night because I like to, you know, read books, and flipping through the music writing section (Dude—how many books can there be about punk? I mean, we get it!), when I happily stumble upon a copy of George Gimarc’s Post Punk Diary, 1980-1982, which was the 1997 follow up to his Punk Diary 1970-1979. Anyone who lived in Dallas and gave a rat’s butt cheek about alternative music for at least two seconds ’til about 1994-5 knows who Gimarc is: the creator of one of the best radio shows ever, The Rock & Roll Alternative and the man opened all of our ears to any band we ever needed to know about. He was our own John Peel. Peel started in Dallas, too, but thank the indie rock gods Gimarc didn’t follow him to England, because were it not for him, we’d all be listening to Journey and Poison. Of course, Gimarc’s influence spread much further than the airwaves of DFW.
Part of the reason said influence was so far-flung was Gimarc’s extensive, exhaustive, extraordinary grasp of all things music, it’s history and minutia, and nowhere is this more obvious than in Post Punk Diary, which literally gives a day-by-day recount of anything important that happened that particular day in underground/new wave/post punk/alternative/indie music. Random example: The entry for Nov. 5, 1980, has a long item on Bauhaus’ debut album, which was released that day; a note that the Cramps changed guitarists again that day; and mentions the release of Sisters of Mercy’s debut single.
Also, the entry for July 26, 1981, which I swear to god I just randomly flipped to, has only one entry: “The Hugh Beaumont Experience are all between fourteen and sixteen years old, and were students at Ft. Worth Country Day School. They were all outcasts in school, fans of the new punk scene from England….” The entry goes on to give a brief history of the band and notes significant singles it released, then explains the group recruited a drummer named King Coffe, who, of course, would later become a member of the Butthole Surfers.
Two year’s worth of this stuff, with the significant (and sometimes forgettable) moments of each day documented. I’m sure Gimarc did an insane amount of research for this sucker, but knowing his reputation, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had done it all from memory. –- Jonanna Widner
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